Dr. Kumar responds to PKNP’s defamation suit

This is a response to the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) suing Dr Kumar for defamation

1800 acres of vegetable farming land in Kanthan were alienated to PKNP in 2011 – 2013.
Initially PKNP considered leasing the land to the more than 200 farmers found there. And the farmers were keen to participation in the scheme.

But PKNP changed its mind and decided to develop a major portion of that area as an industrial estate – now called Silver Valley Technological Park.

The farmers there, represented by the Persatuan Petani Moden Kanthan have been appealing to the government to call off this project as it will mean the eviction of all these farmers.

This area was developed as a vegetable farming area since before WW2 and now is one of the most productive vegetable farming areas in Perak, producing more than 60 tons of vegetables and fruit per day.

The PSM has been supporting the Kanthan farmers in their attempts to get the government to call off the industrial park project because to us, preserving food producing capacity is very important for our society in the longer term given climate change and geopolitical instability.

On 13/10/23, the Kinta Land Office suddenly issued 425 notices giving 6 farmers 1 week to vacate the land they and their families have been cultivating since before WW2.

The farmers sent letters to the Land Office and to their MP, PMX appealing for time and discussion.

But the PTG and the PKNP came in on 23/10/23 and started destroying the crops. A PSM woman was shoved to the ground resulting in a fractured orbital bone. 4 people were arrested.

The lawyer acting for the farmers filed a Judicial Review and obtained a Stay on 24/10. The demolition stopped on 25/10/23.

Then PKNP got a new lawyer – Mah Weng Kai – who had a new interpretation to the Stay obtained. According to MWK, the Stay only pertains to the legal steps mentioned in section 425 of the National Land Code. MWK advised PKNP that they, as the legal land owner, have the right to evict anyone on their land. Landowners do not need any Court Order to evict people on their land. It is their right as landowner!

Empowered by this new interpretation, PKNP resumed demolition of the farms on 1/11/23. That is the background to the statement that I made in Kanthan Police Station after lodging a report.

PKNP is now suing me for defamation. I received their papers on 2/2/24. I will be getting a lawyer to represent me. My defence shall be that everything I said on 1/11/23 at the Balai Polis was a true statement of fact.

If PKNP’s reputation has suffered greatly, perhaps they should look into a mirror and try and figure out which aspects of their recent behaviour people are unhappy about.

Jeyakumar Devaraj
Parti Sosialis Malaysia